11/06/13 — Two seats change hands in Mount Olive

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Two seats change hands in Mount Olive

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on November 6, 2013 1:46 PM

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Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald Sr., center, his son, Michael, left, and town board candidate Joe Scott, right, check the vote totals Tuesday night at the Mount Olive Civic Center. Scott defeated longtime incumbent District 4 Commissioner Gene Lee. McDonald was unopposed. The only other change on the board was in District 2 where Commissioner Hosea Manley lost to Jerry Armstrong.

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Latosha Cauthen, Dane Beavers, Joe Morgan and Tim Norris check in equipment and ballots from the first precinct to arrive at the Wayne County Board of Elections Operations Center Tuesday night.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Handshakes, hugs and cries of celebrations filled the tiny room of the Mount Olive Civic Center when the winners of the races for Mount Olive town commissioners gathered there last night.

Incumbent Ray Thompson defeated challenger Sadie Raine, 292-213, for the at-large commissioner, and incumbent Kenny Talton defeated challenger Jesse Jack Faison, 86-48 for District 1 commissioner.

Challenger Jerry Armstrong will be replacing incumbent Hosea Manley as the District 2 commissioner after receiving 77 votes to his opponent's 64, and challenger Joe Scott won against incumbent Gene Lee for the District 4 commissioner seat by a margin of 96 to 67.

Both Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. and District 3 Commissioner George Fulghum both won their races. They were running unopposed.

And after a long day of campaigning -- making calls, going door to door -- most of those winners ended up going home and taking a seat on the recliner.

Both the challengers who ended up winning their races, Joe Scott and Jerry Armstrong, said they don't have any plans to bring up any issues during the next board meeting. Both said they are taking a wait-and-see approach.

"I have to get oriented on what's going on. I know what we are doing. This is the second time I was a board member, I have to get sworn in first. I'm not planning any earth shattering things. I'm going to look at things and take them as they come" Scott said.

Armstrong agreed with the sentiment. Armstrong had ran for town board in 2007 but wasn't elected.

"I'm just going to observe everything and see how things play out. And I'll be happy to be part of the team. I'm going to just go in and stay focused on the vision that I have," Armstrong said.

"I'm just happy to be on the team, and I hope I can make a difference for Mount Olive as a whole as my district," he said.

After the race, Scott immediately got out the phone to start calling his cadre of volunteers that helped him during the campaign.

"I couldn't have done it without them," he said.

And after the calls, he headed home after what he termed a hectic day. That seemed to be the consensus among most of the winners as they left, campaign signs in hand.

Mayor Ray McDonald Sr., however, was going out with his family for dinner even though he won and ran unopposed.

"As I told you before, I like being mayor. It's one of my favorite things to do."

Compared to the new commissioners, McDonald already had an issue that he would like to get changed after watching election day play out -- creating a single voting location for Mount Olive.

"We should all be voting in one precinct and it should be right here (Mount Olive Train Depot)," he said.

The two separate voting locations are the Mount Olive Train Depot and the Carver Cultural Center.

McDonald said that having two separate locations can only cost more money for the county. And even worse, it might have discouraged voters due to individuals being denied the vote and one place and having to make the move to the other.

Commissioner George Fulghum agreed.

"Some people went to the wrong precinct, and when they left they should have gone to vote at the other location, but a few may have been discouraged. And that could have affected the vote," he said.

Out of the 2,730 registered voters in Mount Olive, 511 ballots were cast in the two precincts that make up the town.

McDonald received 15 write-ins for the position for mayor, or about 3.2 percent of the vote. But that didn't discourage him when compared to the 443 who agreed with what he has been doing for the last 25-years-plus as mayor of Mount Olive.

"It makes you feel good when people vote for you," he said.